Well before 'The Fighter,' filmmaker David O. Russell was gearing up for another ridiculous satire in the vein of 'I Heart Huckabees.' This time, it would focus on a waitress (Jessica Biel) who gets a nail lodged in her head, and when she can't get it removed because she doesn't have health care, she heads to Washington, D.C., to fight for health rights. There, she strikes up a relationship with a congressman (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Due to financier David Bergstein's plagued business dealings, production was halted and restarted over and over, until the film was stopped with only one scene left on the docket. Last summer, the director gave up on the project, saying it was no longer his film, as the producers were canned and Ron Tutor geared up to finish the film without its creator.
Though the news front remained silent for many months, a test screening slipped into a theater earlier this month in Los Angeles, where viewers noted that it "played like an assemblage of rough footage, without the nuance Russell would have injected had he finished."
Now cast member Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman) is weighing in on the drama over at The Playlist.
Playlist takes that to mean that O. Russell's camp is trying to bury the film, one that is most likely doomed without the now acclaimed filmmaker's directorial touch. Let's face it -- 'Nailed' isn't 'The Fighter,' and it's hard to cut together a highly particular film without its creator and without all of the scenes being filmed.
"It's a great film. I think there's a great film waiting to come out there, [but] I've heard from a lot of people recently that what's been screened recently is a compilation, it's not really an edited version, and David is taking his name off and has disassociated himself with the film. I heard a rumor last night that someone is actually trying to bury the film because he's become so successful now."
Nevertheless, Reubens stresses that there's a lot of magic in what was captured:
Check out the interview for more goodies, including his experiences with the director's argument-intensive methods and what Lily Tomlin said of her own experiences with O. Russell.
"I would go home every single night in awe of both leads in the movie, I just could not believe what they were doing. As an actor, what they're doing is very, very complicated and complex. It's really hard to pull off what they did. You have to be effortless, but it's really hard to do," Reubens said. "And I've never seen anybody be so successful with something that complicated [as Gyllenhaal was]. And Jessica Biel is literally-I hate this word, but I can't think of another word to use-is like a revelation. She's so incredibly good in the movie, and again, no one's ever seen her do anything like this... This is like an ingenue. It's almost like Dorothy in 'The Wizard Of Oz.'"
The project seems quite doomed at this point, but one never knows. This is a movie system where the doomed television series 'Mulholland Drive' became a stunning film, so we'll have to continue waiting and then see what's made of it.